April 8, 2020
Ken Machado, known as “Cowboy Kenny,” embodied resilience. Mr. Machado, a 60-year-old former rodeo competitor, did not let Lyme disease, two heart surgeries and injuries from two car accidents stop him from living a full life.
“My siblings and I had a list and we’d check off his nine lives,” said his youngest sister, Diane Machado-Wyant. “He always seemed to spring back.”
Mr. Machado died on March 16, three days after seeing a doctor for a skin rash. He developed a 102-degree fever and tightness in his chest. His condition deteriorated so quickly that he died before paramedics could reach him at his ranch in Paicines, a rural community not far from Monterey.
He tested positive for Covid-19 after his death. His sister said it’s unclear how he contracted the disease, but he returned from a monthlong trip to Thailand two weeks before he died.
Mr. Machado raised horses with his girlfriend on his 60-acre ranch. For years he was active in the rodeo circuit, riding bulls, team roping and performing as a rodeo clown.
“He was just a good ‘ol cowboy,” said his brother Glen Machado. “Not many of them left.”
Even as a youngster, Mr. Machado “didn’t know what the word ‘quit’ was,” recalled his childhood friend, Michael Rodrigues, who said people were naturally drawn to him. “He was the kind of guy who could walk into a room and after a half-hour, he’d be friends with everyone.”